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What is my airgun worth?

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, I want to talk about something different. I’ve been reading two gun auction catalogs from the most recent Rock Island Auction, and something caught my eye. This auction was held last month, and it included hundreds of very desirable and collectible firearms. The first thing that I noticed was the low estimated prices of some really fine vintage guns.

For example, there were some first-generation Colt single-action revolvers that had a very low estimate. One was a Wells Fargo-marked revolver that had been restored to almost new condition, but it had a factory letter proving that it was indeed a rare Wells Fargo model. It was in near-mint condition due to the restoration. I knew that a restoration on a gun like this would lower the value greatly, but not to an estimated $2,500-$4,000, which was the auction estimate! I would have thought that it would still be in the $8,000 to $12,000 range, despite the restoration. And, if original, perhaps $15,000-$20,000.

Yes, I’m aware that auction estimates are not the final prices the guns sell for, and also that auction houses estimate conservatively, but this seems ridiculous to me. However, that is not my point.

Here is what really caught my eye, and what I absolutely cannot understand. On one page there is a “Scarce Sharps Model 1853 Slant Breech Sporting Rifle.” This rifle was manufactured between 1854 and 1859 and is in very good condition. It is mechanically excellent. And the auction estimate is $2,750 to $4,250.

On the very next page, there is a “Special Order Shiloh Sharps Model 1874 Single Shot Rifle with Custom Oak Case.” This is a rifle made within the past few years by the Shiloh Sharps Company in Big Timber, Montana. It is in excellent plus condition in an oak case and the auction estimate is $3,500 to $4,750.

The Shiloh Sharps rifle is a beautiful gun to be sure, but they make them every day of the week. It has no historic connection. It’s a replica of a 19th century rifle that went off the market 125 years ago, and an original Sharps in very good condition should be worth more than a gun you can buy today, in my opinion.

The auction house estimates a newly made “Sharps” to be more valuable than an original! Yes, the condition of the new gun is better than that of the original, but not that much better. Who in their right mind would even want a newly made replica gun when they could have an original for the same money OR LESS?

I’m not finished with this. Obviously, there are people who will want the newly made gun and are willing to pay more for it than for the original. Maybe they’re afraid of shooting an original gun and want the better metallurgy in the modern gun. Beyond that, I don’t understand the thinking. That tells me I don’t know everything there is to know about people and their buying habits. I’ll come back to that thought in a bit, but let’s move on.

Two “BB guns”
While watching American Pickers, a reality TV show in which two guys travel all over the country buying up dirty, rusty antiques to resell, they happened upon two vintage underlever pellet guns in one episode. They called them BB guns, of course, and the owner agreed with them. One of the pickers said he had never seen a mechanism quite like this before and the seller said he never would see one like it again.

Yeah! But only if they stay away from airgun shows! The “BB guns” the pickers found were vintage BSA underlevers made after World War I, and on a good day in the condition they were in, both guns might bring $300 at an airgun show. But the pickers paid $450 for both and they expected to double their money, because, as the man said, these BB guns were “real rare.”

Then, to compound their mistake, the pickers asked Daisy what the guns were. Of course Daisy has very little knowledge of vintage airguns that they didn’t make (oh, that’s right, these are BB guns), but they got to flash a still of their 2009 remake of the 1886 wirestock gun on the screen as the narrator babbled incoherently about BB guns.

I bet you think I’m ready to pounce on the American Pickers for their faux pas? Not at all. Because they probably will double their money, since the rest of humanity knows even less about vintage airguns than they do.

It’s mostly about people
And that’s when it hit me. Buying and selling collectible things has very little to do with the objects themselves and a lot to do with the ability to read people. I recently bought a .22 Winchester rifle from a gun store here in Texas. It was an unlovely thing that had been languishing in that store for over a year. I think they wanted $200 for the gun. I examined it for a long time, and I think I attracted the interest of the store owner, who thought he might finally have a sale for this rack queen. He offered it to me for $100 out the door, tax paid! What he didn’t know and I did, was this is a rare variation of this model rifle and it was made in 1939 — the first year of production.

This chrome-plated (not nickel, but chrome) Winchester model 74 Gallery Special is so rare that even the Blue Book of Gun Values doesn’t list it. But, the NRA Book of Firearms Disassembly does, which is where I discovered what this rare rifle is.

I owned it for a brief time, then I used it in trade for my Ballard. I was allowed $500 credit for the rifle from another gun store. Only this time when I went in to trade, I took all the proof of what the gun was, and when they took off the stock to examine it, the year 1939 was stamped into the underside of the action.

So successful buying and selling is really about people and your ability to read them. The first gunstore owner was a don’t-wanter, who just wanted to see that rifle go out of his store. Any deal he could get was better than no deal at all. The second gunstore owner was intrigued by the (truthful) story I told him about the history of this rare gun. In all honesty, this is one of the very few times I’ve actually been on the winning side of such negotiations. Usually, I’m the one returning home with a handful of magic beans.

People are the key, which is why the American Pickers are successful at what they do. They don’t need to know every disgusting detail about every object they buy. They just have to know what people will buy.

It’s also why the Pawn Stars (another reality TV show about a pawn shop) are able to buy fabulous things for trifling money — because they can read the sellers and they know their customers. Rock Island Auctions does the same. They know what buyers are looking for and approximately what they might be willing to pay for it.

I wish I could boil all of this down to a few simple rules that would help us do better when buying and selling things, but I can’t. In fact, the only rule that seems to come out of all of this is that there are no simple rules. But there are things to think about.

Some buying and selling tips
If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Greed is a powerful enemy, and just when you think you’re about to make the deal of a lifetime, it strikes. You wind up with pockets full of anecdotes instead of treasure.

Blood attracts sharks. If you don’t know what a thing is worth, for gosh sakes, keep that to yourself!

The first to speak loses. When it comes to setting a price, don’t be the one to do it. Let the other guy go first. You’ll be surprised at how many times you’ll be surprised.

Be slow to talk and fast to listen. Let the other guy do the talking while you try to evaluate his motivation. If you sense the seller is a don’t-wanter, you may be able to strike a favorable deal.

Honesty is always the best policy. On one episode of Pawn Stars, a woman came into the pawn shop to sell a broach. It was a large 18-karat gold spider that she thought was festooned with crystals. In fact, it was Fabregé, and the “crystals” were precious gemstones. When she asked $2,000 for it the pawn shop owner countered with an offer of $15,000. Sure, he could have bought it for what she asked and kept that segment out of the TV show, but I think he wanted the message of honesty to get across. And it certainly did.

When I buy an airgun to resell, I tell the buyer everything I know about it, including the price I think it could bring. Then, I make an offer that will be 40 to 50 percent of the price I named. While some people are turned off by this tactic, others understand where I am coming from. I may say something should sell for $500, but when I finally do sell it, I might only get $375 for a variety of reasons. The fact that I paid $250 isn’t bad, because I still made a little money. I may have had to make repairs to the gun or I may have held onto it for three years before it finally sold at the reduced price, so it’s not like I’m making money hand over fist.

Other times things work out in my favor, and I really do make a windfall. Lucky me. But that only happens often enough to offset those times when I let my own greed get in the way and get taken like a country bumpkin. My last such bad deal lost me about a thousand dollars, and I’m sure the other guy is still laughing over it.

While we’re on the subject of losing…when it happens to you take it like a man. If you don’t ever want to get taken by dishonest people, don’t buy and sell things. It’s a simple as that. Larceny is embedded in some people’s DNA, and they cannot do something unless it is illegal or immoral. They usually don’t look different than all other folks, and the best of them look like angels. That’s why they’re so good at what they do. If you can’t stand losing, don’t play the game.

So, my friend, what is your Daisy Buzz Barton, Wintzel CO2 pistol, or Falke model 90 worth? I don’t really know; but if it was mine, I would think long and hard about how best to sell it. A garage sale is probably not the place to start.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

89 thoughts on “What is my airgun worth?”

  1. I have this talent that everything i ever tried to sell just end up as a gift in another words yes -i am stupid …no kidding i am far better consumer /buyer then seller

    • I’ve been thinking of buying a 634 for a while now. Trying to ferret out what price one in good condition should bring without the benefit of a blue book. Someone was selling ones like the link on the yellow a few weeks ago, but they were expensive and I prefer the look of the wood stocks. Can anyone provide some guidance as to how much a 634 in good condition should go for and where I might find one? It really doesn’t have to be in very good shape, because I don’t seem to be able to keep myself from taking every air rifle apart and ‘fixing’ it as soon as I get it…

    • I like the real wood ones myself. But CZ might have a winner here…if that inane law goes through in California, these may be the only guns imported their 🙁

  2. BB

    What an absolutely fantastic article! I’ve been reading and immensely enjoying your articles since I got into airguns about a year ago and this is my first comment. You are an amazing writer and an absolute wealth of knowledge. I have learned a tremendous amount from you and I just wanted to say thank you. You really are something sir, and I fully understand why people speak so kindly of you. Keep up the great work!!

    Chris Pabon in NY

      • Milan

        Thank you for the welcome. I’ve been reading here for a while and BB’s knowledge and the experience of everyone in the comments really makes this the absolute best airgunning blog on the web. There is no malice here, and really everyone just seems to genuinely like and want to help everyone else out. My modest collection of air rifles is steadily growing despite the best efforts of my wonderful girlfriend. Just got a Mendoza RM 600 in today, and have my second PCP coming later in the week, a BSA Spitfire. Looking forward to spending some quality time with it, and also hopefully becoming more of a poster here instead of just lurking around reading everything everyone else is writing! Thank you again for the welcome, and I’m off to bed now, going for some delicious soup filled dumplings for breakfast tomorrow! Love my Chinese princess (girlfriend)!!

        Chris Pabon in NY

        • Chris there are no malicious or offensive comments -everybody respect one another here .I’m fortunate enough to live in part of Europe that has no power limit for air rifles (Croatia) but still hunting with air weapons is forbidden by law here ,and 220 m/s is just enough for me .Eat well 😉

    • Chris,
      Hope to hear more from you. Where/what do you shoot and shoot with, i.e.: distance, targets, backstop, pellets, etc., and if you’ve gotten your girlfriend hooked on shooting yet.

  3. Milan

    My best friend all throughout middle school was Croatian! He would show me family vacation pictures, and some parts are absolutely picturesque, beautiful country.

    Chris Pabon in NY

  4. Good morning B.B.,

    I really enjoyed reading this morning’s blog. I was sipping my coffee listening to you talk and learning–honesty is the best policy. Yes, we’re in complete agreement on that one!

    Chris Pabon, a hearty welcome to you sir! We’ll be interested in hearing about your BSA Spitfire and, by the way, what was your first PCP?


    PS Edith–spell checker is now working with Google Chrome. Thank you much.

    • Hey BB, Chuck, and Mr B!

      I mostly shoot springers in the backyard. Only have about 25 yards here, but its better than nothing. My girlfriend is definitely hooked, but not quite as deeply as I am……yet. I’m just getting into Pcps, and have a disco in 22, and the BSA should be here by Friday, hopefully. Do any of you guys have any experience with a Spitfire? Thank you very much for the warm welcome here, once again showing that our little community is stacked with some of the best people around. All the best!

      Chris Pabon from LI NY

      • Chris,

        I don’t have any experience with the Spitfire, but I have shot several BSA precharged airguns.

        BSA uses a 232-bar fill, which is around 3,500 psi, so if you can’t supply that pressure your shot count will be limited. BSA makes excellent barrels. I like their .22 rifles best of all. They are hard-hitting and accurate. You give a lot of power away when you go with .177 in a BSA.

        You tell us what you think of the rifle, after you try it.


        • BB

          POOP! It is in 177!! It was rebarreled professionally, and apparently is very accurate. I made sure that I was gonna be able to fill it to its max and am getting an FX pump in the deal to do so. I figure the on board tank is small enough it won’t really be a pain to fill. That, and the only other pcp I have is a disco so I’ll be able to pump for a while. I’m going to be coming into a little bit of money in a few months, so I’ll wind up going with a CF tank then, and hopefully adding a 25 cal Marauder and 22 cal Talon SS to my growing stable. As soon as I get the BSA in, I’ll let you and all your readers know what I think of it. If you are interested in it further, maybe I’ll be able to send it to you and you can test it out and review it. All the best BB!

          Chris Pabon in LI NY

          • Chris,

            I didn’t mean to cast aspersions on your new PCP. Try it! It may be just what you’ve been wanting.

            As for the report, could you maybe write a guest blog for us? It means so much more when someone who is not me tells everyone about their experiences, and frankly, I enjoy reading what others think about their guns.

            We’ll make it real easy for you. 🙂


            • BB

              I’d be honored to do that for you. Especially after reading countless articles of yours, and learning so much. I would have to send it to you via email though, as I literally do all my web surfing from my phone. If you would like, you can email me at sgtcpabon@gmail.com and we can talk about you trading me your Whiscombe for my expert report. Lol. I’m looking forward to this BSA so much. It has a Theoben evolution ldc on it, with a vortex end cap on that. Any experience with either of those things? Thanks BB!

              Chris Pabon in LI NY

      • Chris,
        I don’t know the Spitfire. I do envy you your 25 yds. At present I’m limited to 10 in my basement. My next door neighbor runs a day care and I don’t want them to know I keep guns. A .22 Disco is a fine rifle. Do you pump it up or scuba?

        • Chuck,

          The wife of big bore airgun maker Gary Barnes told us a story that her kids used to go to school and tell teachers and friends that they had guns & knives as decorations on their Xmas tree. Apparently, this was horrifying because the kids failed to mention that they weren’t real. In fact, Gary carved them out of wood specifically to decorate the tree 🙂


        • Hey Chuck,

          Believe it or not, I’ve had the Disco about 3 weeks now, and its still running on the charge the guy I got it from sent it with! I was supposed to get the BSA/FX pump package around the same time, but my guy had to order some other fittings for it. Shooting at 25 yards is fun, but just yesterday my neighbor voiced concerns and instead of letting me reassure him, he just said “a big, combat vet like you shouldn’t be playing with BB guns”. I literally had to bite my lip to keep my composure. Sooo, I found a buddy on the yellow forum who has a solid 60 yards we can shoot at! If you ever find yourself in NY, you’d be more than welcome here to shoot, and I’ll take you for a full day of stuffing our faces!

          Chris in LI NY

          • Chris,
            Thanks for the invite. Unfortunately, I live in Illinois, but NY is only a road trip away. 🙂 I rode out to Halifax, Nova Scotia four years ago and saw some really beautiful NY country on the way out there.

            • Chuck,

              I am so jealous!! I was about to buy a VRod a couple of years ago, but I got into a car accident and just had my back surgery done in March (fusion at L5S1). Hopefully later in the year I can get my bike, and marry my girl-who has literally been an angel the whole time I was hurt. Oh, btw, I’ve been looking to go to Wrigley field forever, might take the trip this year. Don’t know if your a baseball fan, or if your close to the area, but I’ll let you know if we make the trip.

              Chris in LI NY

              • Chris,
                I live about 120 miles south of Chicago. About a 3 hour drive. I’ve been to old Wrigley field once. About froze to death in the shade behind home plate while watching shirtless guys in bleachers roast in the sun behind second base. A strange field. I’m not big into baseball but would consider myself one of those idiot there’s-always-next-year Cub fans. Amazes me how they can be so frustrating yet always fill the stadium. St. Louis is about 150 miles south of me. I’ve been to Bush stadium once. About roasted to death. Everybody about roasted to death. I swear, St. Louis in the summer is hotter than Death Valley. At least chicago gets some lake effect.

                • Chuck,

                  Pretty funny stuff man. You are absolutely right also, one side of Wrigley could be either 50 degrees hotter or colder than the other side. I did some work in St Louis about 3 summers ago, and you aren’t kidding; it was HOT. I’m a die hard Mets fan so I know all about “we’ll get em next year”. Well, if we do wind up coming there over the summer, I’ll leave you a message on here….. I meant to ask you before, what air guns are you shooting in your basement? You can email me if you want so we don’t clutter the blog, sgtcpabon@Gmail.com. Thanks Chuck!

                  Chris in LI NY

      • I could give him a .575 Enfield slug (excess of 500gr), a 300gr jsp or XTP from the Knight with a sabot, or insted of waking up everyone for three miles I could use the Talondor with a Pred.
        I don’t want to be too sporting about it. No .177 stuff .
        At least it is not a herd of skunks or possums. Been through that before. Just one scrawny looking coon.


      • Fred,

        I think a 14.3 gr chp from my Disco doing about 975 fps ought to do the job! Wish is had the opportunity to try! Ditto a 16 gr Eun Jin .177 pellet from my Sumatra Carbine doing about the same speed!

        That combo works great on smaller pests around my small townhouse. Except I have to be careful to check the neighbors are not home as that disco is LOUD! Not so much the Sumatra though.

    • TT,

      Oddly enough I am having the same problem. The cats can’t compete with a raccoon and the raccoon seems comfortable to eat everything and leave nothing. Thought about disposing of the critter, but am intrigued with him. Food is in the house now where the cats (4) can eat and go back out as desired. ‘coon only comes around at night when doors are shut. I’ve been watching him and it appears he’s watching me too. Interesting creature… so far has not caused any destruction or been a pest.

      BB, great article this morning! I haven’t been around much lately, thought I’d check in. Got lots of catching up to do.


    • twotalon,
      There is so much to be said about that photo I don’t know where to begin. I’ll just say it is so funny to see those two cats just sitting there watching the thief do his dirty work. I think you should fire the cat on the right who’s doing sentry duty. Apparently he/she’s just a poser and not really into it. 🙂 BTW, looks like the cats like to climb up the downspout, eh?

  5. BB,

    a really good blog today – lots to think about. My 124 that I just bought and can now shoot without bending the barrel (thanks to that Red Dot) is probably in a bit rough condition – couple chips in the stock, butt is in rough shape and there is some rust on the barrel and action – some brown sheen peeking through the bluing (call it patina) and no rear sight but that Williams Target peep sight. Looking at my three year old Blue Book (3 years out of date), I paid on the high side for what I would call a 60% ‘er. Then I started looking into buying a new rear sight and found that a new Williams Peep sight is around $80 with target screws. All of a sudden, I realized that my purchase was very fair and unfortunately (for others), is not going to be for sale for quite some time.

    I’ve now run out of room and either have to sell or figure out how to eek out more storage area in the utility room. I think the latter is a better plan.


    Fred PRoNJ

    • Fred,

      Congratulations on that 124. I’ve owned 60 percenters before and they shoot just fine. Plus you aren’t afraid of working on them just a bit.

      I am working on a 4th dimensional storage cabinet that only allows up to 20 percent of your collection to be present in the current time. If you want to access the others, some guns have to wink out. You can easily store 100 guns inside a small cabinet.

      I’ll put you on the list for one of the early ones.


        • And where does the other 80% of your collection go when it winks out? The magic cabinet at BB’s house!

          You are a wily one BB Pelletier, but I am on to you.

      • Hmm. I just searched Pyramyd’s site for “TARDIS gun safe” but came up empty. I was hoping to install one at my grandma’s childhood home so I could swap rifles with my ancestors. Then, I bet I’d have some Kentucky long rifles to shoot with BG_Farmer…


  6. B.B.

    Honesty, yes. I guess it’s one of the most precious and rare qualities in people when it comes to the money.
    I made some interesting research on airgun barrel (and mostly – airgunner) longevity with proper care and cleaning. Let me get to my camera and I’ll show you 🙂


  7. Empowering.

    B.B.’s willingness to share these buying and selling tips along with the occasional misstep are invaluable if you wish to take your airgun hobby to the next level without a large investment.

    Although these gems of articles get swept into the “Airgun Collecting” catagory in my opinion they really are about HOW YOUR AIRGUN HOBBY CAN PAY FOR ITSELF. If you buy used airguns right then sell them right you can move into acquiring broad range of airguns, experience them for yourself then move onto the next without any out of pocket expense except your initial cost.

    The most important message to me in todays article is “How to minimize mistakes in buying used airguns.”

    The message is clear:

    1-Know where you can sell the gun and for what amount before you buy it
    2-Always be on the lookout for a gun deal. Sometimes they pop up in the most unlikely places

    Knowing all values for all guns is impossible. Building a library starting with the blue book is a good beginning. Researching past sales on sites like gunbroker and the yellow classifieds is also a valuable resource. Results from auctions, like the recent prestigious Rock Island that B.B. mentioned, provide a wealth of information once the prices realized are published. The results from the most recent Rock Island Auction are now available online:


    Obviously the prices realized is important but also pay attention to those items that didn’t sell. The prices that weren’t achieved is invaluable information to share with your potential gun seller.

    I had 5 items offered in the recent Rock Island Auction. Two sold. Three didn’t. This is the time to buy not sell IF you’re armed with good information that can be shared with your seller.


    • Kevin,

      Thanks for the link to the prices realized. I was pleased to see that the real vintage Sharps rifle went for $4,025, which was near the top of the estimate and the modern Shiloh went for $2,875, which is below the bottom of its estimate. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks the real thing is worth more than a replica.


      • B.B.,

        Agreed. I think it’s easy for auction houses to get caught up in their own hype when estimating ranges of value. I also think that they occasionally add a dose of inflation to pacify some sellers.

        The vintage sharps vs. shiloh reproduction wasn’t a surprise but there were many others.


  8. BB

    I know how you like Pawn Stars and American Pickers, and was wondering if you have yet seen a show called ‘Auction Hunters’? Two guys cover the country bidding on abandoned units at mini storage places and also shipping containers. The are like Mike and Frank but less likable. They come across some amazing things though. And antique firearms galore. Sometimes its frustrating to see them sell the guns off for so little. But they aren’t out to squeeze every cent out of the stuff they come across, just enough to make it worth their while (at least while the camera is running) They leave some gravy on the plate.

    And am I the only guy that thinks that Danielle compromised what would otherwise be a very lovely chest with that hideous tattoo? Dang!

    • SL,

      Edith and I watch all Auction Hunters, as well as other auction shows like Pawn Queens, etc.

      Yes, I agree about the tatoos, but given her personality it was probably a given. She’s also a burlesque dancer, you know? I think she is what one would describe as unconventional, but she’s also sharp as a tack and I love to listen to her banter.


  9. If it’s too good to be true…. Boy, that one burned me once or twice. Greed can make you blind to all the warning signs you should be listening to. I have learned to listen to my gut. It is easier than ever now to get info on any given airgun with my iPhone and other references but still I occasionally buy things I know nothing about. Look at how well the item is made. About how old do you think it is? Is it well crafted? Is the mechanism unique? These things can give you a clue about buying something you don’t know about. I think those are things pickers and pawn shop owners become very good at. You may not know it is rare, but you can know it is worth at least $$$ just from what you can see.

    David Enoch

  10. B.B., you do seem to have put in a fair amount of time with the reality shows. 🙂 Agreed with everything you said here and considering that I am not a natural bargainer, I don’t see myself doing extensive buying or selling. However, as to the serendipity of the process I would think that as you get more knowledgeable the odds swing in your favor as long you don’t get blinded by greed.

    As to your initial case of the two Sharps rifles, improved metallurgy would count a lot for me although probably not enough for the price difference. On the other hand, I have some trouble with the whole concept of the “collectible” which is a gun valued just because it is hard to get. Usually it’s old, or has an uncommon serial number, but the value that’s placed on it seems ultimately to have nothing to do with its function or even history necessarily or with any other quality than that it is uncommon. This seems to me, dare I say, a bit like Paris Hilton being famous for being famous. I don’t get it. Of course there’s a certain amount of money to be made, but as far as the insatiable desire to possess that seems to drive serious collectors, I don’t understand. Maybe it’s more human nature.

    On the subject of human nature, here’s another question to consider. While preparing to solder, I looked up a few YouTube videos on basic soldering and found EXACTLY what I needed about tinning the tip, maintaining the iron, and other things that someone had painstakingly put together all for free. Why? It’s nice but a little mystifying and the results are all around us in the form of the whole world wide web–even the blog. Much of the internet is not benign admittedly, but a great deal of it is. It’s sort of like the good twin to the double-dealing, profit-motivated, snake-oil selling culture that operates most other places. Quite the mystery in front of our faces.

    Frank B., so you’re an experienced solderer too. Ha ha that’s terrific. I might be emailing you about this. Say, maybe you or some other handy person can help me with my latest mechanical problem. I was trying to remove a “set screw” from its hole with the appropriately sized hex driver and it seems like the inside of the screw has stripped. Not my fault! I double-checked the size of the hex driver. But now it spins in place and does not grip the screw. Is there a way of getting the darn screw out? About $50 is riding on this. This screw is part of the motor assembly for an rc airplane, but I’m sure that someone has encountered this problem with airguns or some other situation. I seem to recall reading about this in an amateur gunsmithing book where somebody used a tool to cut a notch in the defective screw and draw it out. That would be beyond my means. My best plan now, besides going to Ace Hardware for advice over the lunch hour, is to very, very carefully put a tiny dot of superglue right in the middle the defective screw, attach an inexpensive allen wrench to it, and then pull it out once the bond is formed. Then I could use my new superglue releasing agent to detach the wrench, but I’m not optimistic.


    • Matt,

      try a torx bit. Depending on size, it should be slightly larger than the stripped Allen or cap head screw and provide the needed grip to loosen and remove the Allen screw. It’s easy to strip the inside of an Allen head screw by neglecting to fully insert the Allen wrench into the hole – don’t ask me how I know this……

      Fred PRoNJ

    • Matt: Your mention of why someone like Paris Hilton is famous or not, underscores what is wrong with this world and the obsession that folks have with the un-reasonable worship of celeberties . We should not even care, much less know what Paris Hilton thinks. This electronic media that we have embraced so completely assults us on a daily basis so much crap that we have lost our ability to tell what is important or not. This also applies to the gun buying tips of todays blog. We have and are, losing our ability to personally read and interact with other people, and we rely to much on the web for our research. We have given certain guns a cult status that has overidden their actual practical value.
      On removing allen head and most treaded fasteners in todays items, I’ve found that the new compact 1/4″ collet type cordless impact driver /drills to be invaluable. I used mine to remove a stuck firing pin bushing from a double barrel shotgun recently. Impossible to do by hand usually. These drivers don’t usually strip the fastener like a regular tool or drill would. I do plumbing also and I’ve also used them to remove corroded faucet handles and such.

    • matt,
      Surely you have a dremmel by now. What self respecting model maker doesn’t have one? 🙂

      You mentioned the grinding-the-slot technique. Easy to do with a dremmel and a cutting disk. Just might work if there is room to get the disk in there.

    • I wouldn’t waste your time with the super glue. I tried it once with a screw that had yet to fully strip, it doesn’t work. The only way to possibly do it that way would be to use the super thick formula and a filler material, usually glass microbeads. That’s what I did, and only succeeded in making a mess and gluing a finger to the bench. You didn’t mention the size of screw, but I am going to guess that they make an easy-out for that size. The kind I use at work is only 1/2″ long for the flutes and almost no taper to make an extremely secure grip, and has a six point head so you can use a socket on it. I got them from Matco. As long as the screw isn’t buried down too far you should be able to get to it and take it out as easy as putting it in.

  11. Hello everyone. This blog has reminded me of another side of collecting. I have been an amateur classical guitarist for thirty years now. I have seen all the great ones. Segovia, John Williams, Julian Bream, e.t.c. One disturbing thing is how a few collectors, a lot of them are not guitar players,will buy a beautiful rosewood Ramirez, and lock it up in a climate controlled room, never to be played or enjoyed by an audience. This puts the price of a beautiful instrument totally out of reach for a guy like me. I am lucky to have picked up a good one 25 yrs. ago in Seattle. I hope this trend in collecting things does not find it’s way into the air gun world. Or an HW97 will cost $2000.00 in two years. I have seen this happen.
    Titus Groan

      • Hello Slinging Lead. Yes, I realized what I said as soon as I hit submit. I own two. A .177, and a .22 . And your right. It is would be great to be in that position. Tell me though. Would you sell it, and not have one or hold on to it? I love my Hw97’s. I know I would keep one of them. mmm. which one?
        Titus Groan

    • Titus Groan,

      That’s the same complaint made about fine violins. There are Stradevari that never get played, and it takes about 50 years of playing to break one in properly, I’m told. The most beautiful one known is in like-new condition in the British Museum, and seldom gets played. As a result, it hasn’t developed a voice yet.

      Fortunately some wealthy patrons have recognized the need to get these instruments into the right hands and have either gifted or loaned them to musicians for life. Yehudi Menuhin was given a Strad for his 15th birthday and Edvin Marton was loaned a Strad by his government. It’s insured for $3 million. He isn’t insured at all!

      But at the lower levels it’s No Man’s Land. Who is going to gift an upstart country singer with a Martin worth $10,000? And truthfully, do they really need one? Or does a musician’s”need” for better instruments get addressed as their talent increases? Hopefully there is a lot of that going on.


      • B.B. Yes, the top musicians will get to play the best. And rightfully so. The also have nice instruments gifted too them by Luthiers. After all, if a John Williams plays your guitar, You have a ready clientele. I just found it frustrating that a Ramirez can cost $25,000.00 . But I also realize I live in a free market society where demand determines the price. I can dream for free though.

        • Titus Groan,

          Funny you should mention Luthiers, as the publisher of the Blue Book of Airguns also publishes the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, the Blue Book of Electric Guitars, the Blue Book of Mandolins and several other related titles. Both Steve Fjestad and his son, Zachary,are extremely interested in stringed instruments.


  12. Just wondering guys, if someone replys to a post I’ve made, is there anyway that I could get notified by email? Or does everyone just check the blog comments at regular intervals to see if anyone has posted a response to their post? Thanks for the info.

    Chris Pabon in LI NY

      • Edith,

        Thank you very much for the info. I can see it getting overwhelming pretty quickly, so I’ll probably just check the page every so often from my phone. I appreciate you taking the time out to let me know though. Thank you very much!

        Chris Pabon in LI NY

        • If you have support for RSS feeds, it makes it much easier — especially if someone does a follow-up to something you posted three days ago as you don’t need to go searching the archeological records to find the main blog entry under which the comment is posted.

  13. Any ideas how to fix my 1894?When it shoots its bb fly’s straight for about 30 feet and then the bb falls right to the ground and every couple shots it diesels and smoke comes out of the oil here hole

    • Not sure about the dieseling, but it sounds like you might have a bent barrel. Airsoft uses the same thing in the hop-up system to give extra length to the usable shot distance if I remember right. It puts a measured spin on the BB much like a baseball when you throw a sinker or a curve ball. I had the same problem with a used Red Ryder I got some time ago. It shot fine to about 4 yards and went way left. I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did to fix it, as you probably spent more than the $10 I did. And it still didn’t shoot as well as it should.

  14. Chris,
    Right now I’m learning the Crosman Challenger I just got. Best trigger in my experience. Absolutely no creep and really crisp second stage. I have a set of front aperture inserts coming in the mail today that I’m excited to try. The rifle comes with three inserts in the box but the smallest (3.8) is still too large an opening for the target I’m shooting at 10mm. However, it’s probably too small for an NRA target. Go to http://www.airgunarena.com and print out their eMatch bench rest target and you’ll see what I mean. Those bulls are pretty small at 10m. Plus, their scoring rules for this target are so strict it’s an extreme challenge for me to get a clean 10 ring. The 10 ring is about 2mm larger than the pellet head so preciseness is paramount.

    • Okay, I’m going to expose myself as a peep-sight no-nothing here… Chuck, if the various circular front inserts aren’t a good fit for your target bulls, is it an option to try different types of front inserts? I think I’ve heard folks here talking about post-type front inserts and others. Did I just say something really dim? Are the ring-type front sights the only real choice for precision?

      I had a chance to plink with ring-type aperture sights on a P700 and an S200 a couple of weeks ago. Really handy stuff, especially after spending so much time of late with less-ergonomic rifles with big, top-heavy scopes…


      • Rings apparently work best for bullseye targets as proper sight alignment results in all evenly spaced circles (outward from center: bull, paper, globe ring, air around globe unit, rear aperture); and if using a very close eyepoint to the rear, one essentially removes the whole subject of eye alignment — if the eye is even minutely off-center, the front ring won’t even be visible.

        Plain flat-top posts put one into the 6 o’clock hold, trying to balance the bull on the center top of the post. Bead posts and cross hairs require covering the bull with part of the sight (and try to see a black + on a black bull; or a bead without a contrast dot). Double cross hair # probably have the same problem WRT spacing — centering a bull in the center square.

        Heh… that link I posted a few days ago even had a set of inserts in the approximate shape of standard metal silhouette targets — center the silhouette inside the shaped opening, rather than trying to guess where center of mass is.

      • Jan,
        You are right on the mark. You know more than you give credit. The Challenger came with three inserts for the front sight. The smallest one was too small for me. I ordered a set of ten circular inserts Monday from Champions Choice that Victor pointed me to. They are due here today.

        Wulfared posted a couple other sites that sell sights inserts and the ones there are several different shapes including posts and cross-hairs and a few other odd shapes that intrigue me.

        So you go from dim to bright!

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